Test results are due back Wednesday on a pair of College Station pools recently shut down. Officials are hoping their deep cleaning of deep ends will clear the water of a microorganism that's already made a handful of swimmers sick.
It's nearing the end of the pool season anyway, but in College Station, two of the four pools closed earlier than expected.
"The customers have been understanding, and we appreciate that because that's what we're there for," said Parks and Recreation Director Steve Beachy. "We want them to have a fun time and a safe time as well."
But cryptosporidium seeped into the waters. It's a well-known organism, but still a fairly rare one, so rare, in fact, that it's not regularly tested for according to Beachy.
"It's not a normal thing by any case, but it's something we will keep a watch on for sure," he said.
Cryptosporidiosis afflicts the intestines, shows up days after infection, and takes a week or two to go away. Beachy says the normal course of action is to test for the disease when cases start popping up. Four were enough in this instance, one Beachy called a first in his time at Parks and Rec.
Another reason for the lack of testing: the cost. Each test goes for $500. College Station paid for nine in the past week, not to mention the hours paid staff to deep clean pools for a disease that survives in normal chlorine levels.
"The cost of the test and the staff are not the primary concern," Beachy said. "It's making sure we've got safe pools."
As for events and parties booked at Adamson Lagoon and Thomas Park, Beachy says as many as possible were moved to the Southwood pool and the city natatorium.
"We're working with all of those clients to reschedule those events or refund their money if they can't be rescheduled."
Adamson Lagoon was scheduled to run through September. Thomas Park's events were set to end at the end of August.
Much more on cryptosporidiosis can be found at the CDC's fact page on the disease: http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dpd/parasites/cryptosporidiosis/factsht_cryptosporidiosis.htm